Will QPR be oddly relieved to see Manchester United arrive at Loftus Road this weekend?

Most sides would dread a visit from the runaway league leaders, but QPR have produced their best performances against the top teams in recent weeks, and might have a good chance against Manchester United.

On the face of it, the match at Loftus Road this weekend looks like an easy on to call. Manchester United are 12 points clear at the top of the division and are also in easily the best form of any team in England's top flight.

Conversely QPR are four points adrift at the bottom of the table, haven't won in the league since the 2nd of January, and were soundly thrashed 4-1 by Swansea in their last outing.

However the final result might be far harder to predict than expected, as QPR have produced some excellent performances against the top teams in the league in recent weeks, taking five points from matches with Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.

For all the trouble they have had this season, they still have plenty of good players in ther squad, and when they have a clear objective against a top four side they have the ability to get results.

Against teams closer to them in the league, there is perhaps a confusion over exactly how the side should approach the match. At this stage they are in dire need of wins if they are going to stay up, but in looking for them, they have a tendency to leave themselves exposed at the back, as demonstrated by Swansea two weeks ago.

When they play against the top sides, it is a far more simple equation. QPR know they have to sit back and absorb pressure if they are to get anything from the match, and the team is far more comfortable in this system, occasionally breaking through the likes of Taarabt to try and grab a goal.

As such, they will have a clear idea of what’s expected of them against Manchester United, and in a way this takes a little pressure off the side.

Clearly it will be very hard for them to get anything from the game, but QPR have done it before against the top sides - recently grabbing a point against Manchester City, and it shouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see them do it again on Saturday.

images: © Tom Cuppens, © Ben Sutherland

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